According to the CDC, nearly 47% of American adults have periodontal disease–also known as gum disease. That’s nearly 64 million adults who are 30 years or older.
If we don’t take care of our teeth, there are a host of other dental problems that can arise. Fortunately, most of these issues are preventable.
Want to learn more? Keep reading to learn about 9 common causes of unhealthy teeth and how to prevent them.
1. Tooth Decay/Cavities
Nearly 53 million people have untreated tooth decay. This condition is the most common disease in children and is more prevalent than asthma and hay fever.
Tooth decay happens when plaque builds up on your teeth and erodes your enamel. This results in small holes in your teeth which are cavities.
One reason why we get so many cavities is from what we eat. Foods and drinks high in sugar contribute to tooth decay.
If you do eat these foods, you should rinse your mouth right after and brush your teeth after each meal.
2. Bad Breath
Halitosis can be a sign of a deeper dental issue such as cavities or gum disease. However, it can also simply be caused by the foods you’re eating
Many spices and strong foods such as garlic may linger in your mouth if you eat too much of them. Bad breath can also be a result of plaque buildup.
Brushing your teeth after every meal can help with bad breath. If the issue still won’t go away, you should go to the dentist to get it checked out.
3. Sensitive Teeth
Sensitive teeth are an annoying problem that can make it difficult to enjoy certain foods. Some people may experience discomfort from cold air.
This condition happens when the layer of dentin in our teeth is exposed. This can happen from gum disease, brushing too frequently, or age. Acidic and sugary foods can also contribute to sensitive teeth.
There are special products you can use for sensitive teeth. You can consult with your dentist to see what they recommend.
4. Mouth Sores
Who knew such a small sore can cause so much pain? The most common types of mouth sores are called canker sores. They will appear inside the mouth and can come from different factors such as stress or hormones.
Canker sores are not contagious. If you have one that doesn’t go away after two weeks, you should see your dentist to rule out any concerns.
5. Gum Disease
Periodontal disease occurs when the gums are infected. It’s the most common reason for tooth loss in adults and may be linked to heart disease.
Although anyone may develop gum disease, the ones who are at the highest risk are smokers and people with diabetes.
Fortunately, you can prevent gum disease with regular brushing and flossing. You should also be aware of the symptoms of this disease so that you can get them checked out.
Symptoms of periodontal disease include:
- Bad breath
- Gums that bleed when you floss
- Gums that appear swollen or red
6. Root Infection
Root infection happens when the root of your tooth is infected and affects the pulp tissue. This might feel like a toothache at first. However, a painful abscess will occur. You might need a root canal to alleviate this problem.
7. Yellow Teeth
Discolored teeth may be a sign of unhealthy teeth. However, this is not always the case.
You may have yellow teeth from the foods you eat. Many of the food we eat or drink such as coffee, tea, tomato sauce can stain teeth.
Smoking and not taking care of your teeth can also lead to discoloration. Certain antibiotics and medical treatments can also result in stained teeth.
Other causes include age, genetics, trauma to the teeth, or too much fluoride.
To prevent stained teeth, you should rinse your mouth after consuming teeth-staining foods. You should brush them about 30 minutes after each meal. If you smoke, here’s another reason to quit.
You can also talk to your dentist about teeth whitening options.
8. Dry Mouth
Dry mouth happens when your saliva glands can’t make enough saliva. Your mouth needs saliva to help wash away plaque and for its antibacterial properties.
Dry mouth may be a result of certain medications you’re taking. People who are on chemotherapy can have dry mouth.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for this condition. What you can do is drink water and stay hydrated to alleviate dry mouth.
9. Oral Cancer
Nearly 49,750 people were diagnosed with oral cancer in 2017. Those at risk are over the age of 40, those who chew tobacco, smokers, and drinkers.
This disease is dangerous because it’s usually caught too late. However, if diagnosed early, it can be treated. Regular dental checkups can help your dentist check for any signs of this disease.
What Can You Do to Prevent Unhealthy Teeth
Now that you know about the most common problems of unhealthy teeth, you can take steps to prevent them.
The most important thing to do is to brush at least twice a day. In addition, you should floss, stay hydrated with water, and change your toothbrush at least every 3 months.
You should also watch your diet. Sugary and starchy foods contribute to unhealthy teeth.
And finally, have regular dental checkups. You should have a dental checkup every 6 months to take care of your teeth. However, those with periodontal disease or other conditions may need to go more often.
Only a dentist can diagnose and treat any dental problems you may have.
Are you ready to schedule your next dental appointment? Contact us today to request an appointment.